Prior to founding ACA, Jonathan was Legal Advocacy Coordinator at EarthRights International, where he worked with civil society groups and communities on six continents to promote accountability for corporate complicity in human rights abuse and environmental devastation. He was a Finalist for the Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year Award in 2010, and has served as an adviser to the U.S. State Department on dispute resolution between communities and corporations. Jonathan graduated from Yale University with a combined B.A. and M.A. in Chinese, studied law at Harvard Law School, and has a degree in public policy from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan in 2002-03 and speaks Mandarin Chinese, French, and Spanish.
Ruby Osei Kyei-Baffour
Ghana Programs Director
Ruby is a Ghanaian who has been involved in many community projects sponsored by USAID and the World Bank as field officer and monitor since 2005. Previously, Ruby worked as Programs manager for Gender and Environmental Monitoring Advocates (GEMA) where she was directly involved in helping communities affected by mining to identify alternative sources of livelihood. She has also worked as a Broadcast Journalist and News Editor at “Ahomka” FM, a community radio station in Komenda Edina Eguafo Abrem Municipality, through which she became an active member of Journalists for Human Rights in Central Region. Ruby is a trained teacher who also taught English and Ghanaian Languages in a community senior high school for seven years. She holds a Masters in Human Resource Management (MBA) from the University of Cape Coast Business School and a Bachelors in Ghanaian Languages from the University of Education Winneba.
To lead its community partnerships, ACA works closely with Osei Nimako of Donkro Nkwanta and Ama Naomi Pokuaa of Kyeredeso Village. Nimako is a teacher and accountant whose family has helped to lead the communities' resistance to mining for yerars. Naomi is a farmer and community organizer who seeks to protect her community and family from the negative effects of mining.
Yvette Dzakpasu is passionate about using the law to work toward sustainable peace and development for local communities while advancing human rights generally and women’s rights in particular. Yvette joins us from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) where she assisted with strategic planning of WILPF’s global programmes and conducted legal research. She is also the Advocacy Director for Global Ecovillages Network (GEN).
Yvette received her master’s in Law from Columbia University where she focused on International Law and Human Rights while working in the legal team at the Permanent Mission of Ghana to the United Nations. She is Ghanaian and studied in the UK, obtaining her undergraduate degree in Law from the London School of Economics. She is a qualified lawyer admitted to practise in England and Wales and previously worked as a finance lawyer for an international law firm in its London and Madrid offices.
Nnimmo Bassey (President) is a Nigerian architect, environmentalist activist, author and poet, who chaired Friends of the Earth International from 2008 through 2012 and was Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action for two decades. He was one of Time magazine's Heroes of the Environment in 2009. In 2010, Nnimmo Bassey was named co-winner of the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2012 he was awarded the Rafto Prize. He serves on the Advisory Board and is Director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, an environmental think tank and advocacy organization.
Rachel Davis is the Managing Director and Treasurer of the Shift Project. She is an Australian lawyer with extensive experience in business and human rights, having worked with business, in government and civil society settings. She served for five years as a legal advisor to Professor John Ruggie, the former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Business and Human Rights, as part of his core advisory team that helped develop the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Previously, Rachel served as a strategy and policy advisor to the UN Special Advisor on the "Responsibility to Protect" at the International Peace Institute in New York. She clerked at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague and at the High Court of Australia. Rachel has a Masters in Law from Harvard Law School and Bachelors degrees in Law and Politics from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where she also lectured and published in law.
Ian Gary directs Oxfam America’s policy and advocacy work focused on promoting transparent and accountable financial flows – for example from oil and mining revenues, taxes and aid – to fight poverty. Previously he was Senior Policy Manager – Extractive Industries, at Oxfam America. He has authored Oxfam's report, Ghana's Big Test: Oil's Challenge to Democratic Development (2009) and has co-authored many other reports and papers on the oil and gas sector in the developing world. He has been a leader in the fight to bring more transparency to oil and mining corporate payments to host governments and has been instrumental in the passage and implementation of US legislation requiring payment disclosure. Prior to joining Oxfam in 2005, Gary held positions with the Ford Foundation, Catholic Relief Services and other international development organizations in the US and Africa. He has conducted field work in more than 20 developing countries.
Michelle Harrison (Vice President) is a Staff Attorney at EarthRights International. She graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2012 where she received the Robert F. Kennedy ‘51 Public Service Fellowship to work with ERI for a year. She then remained at ERI as a Bertha Foundation Fellow. While at UVA, worked in Tanzania for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and with the Innocence Project, providing post-conviction representation. Michelle holds a B.A. in Political Science and Environmental Science and a minor in French from Miami University. At ERI, Michelle has defended the First Amendment rights of activists against abusive discovery from Chevron, helped defend the Dodd-Frank extractive industry disclosure rules on behalf of Oxfam America, and worked on ERI's U.S. litigation against Chiquita for human rights abuses and Union Carbide (Dow Chemical) for environmental abuses. She is admitted to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Marco Simons is Americas Regional Program Director and General Counsel at EarthRights International. He oversees ERI's use of legal strategies to work with communities around the world in protecting their human rights and their environment. With ERI, Marco has served as counsel on transnational corporate accountability cases including Doe v. Unocal, Wiwa v. Shell, Bowoto v. Chevron, and Maynas Carijano v. Occidental Petroleum, and submitted amicus briefs in numerous other cases. He has written or coauthored several articles and publications on corporate accountability for earth rights abuses as well as taught college and law school courses on human rights. Marco previously worked for ERI on the Robert L. Bernstein Fellowship in International Human Rights after graduating from Yale Law School. Prior to returning to ERI, he clerked for the Honorable Dorothy Wright Nelson on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and worked for the civil rights law firm Hadsell & Stormer, which was co-counsel on Doe v. Unocal and Bowoto v. Chevron. Marco holds an undergraduate degree in environmental science and, prior to law school, worked on developing educational materials on conservation biology. He is currently admitted to practice in California, Washington, D.C., and Washington State, as well as in the U.S. Supreme Court and several other federal courts.